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The U.S. is headed for a potentially dangerous new social rift, this time between millennials and baby boomers, each wrestling for diminishing jobs and shrinking government assistance, according to a new paper released today by Bain.
Quick take: In the next decade or so, automation and demographics will become a new dimension to the economic and social pressures already roiling the U.S. and societies around the world, the study says.
"Who votes, who wins, and who goes to the polls become a highly politicized issue potentially," says Karen Harris, managing director of Bain's Macro Trends Group.
Bain paints the following picture of the years up to around 2030:
This will set up generational conflicts, Bain says. Chiefly, it will pit millennials against boomers for jobs and for differing government assistance:
Members of the IG Metall union on strike. Photo: Lino Mirgeler / AFP / Getty Images
Experts say a new labor agreement granting German metals and electrical workers the right to a 28-hour week marks a generational shift in how people balance their professional and outside lives.
What's happening: Yesterday's accord means 900,000 members of the IG Metall industrial union can take lower pay for working 28 hours a week, and later return to full time at 35 hours if they so choose. They can do anything with their extra time, including work at something else, hang out with their spouse, or care for elderly parents.
Why it matters: "IG Metall’s agreements tend to be seen as benchmarks for the whole of German industry, and it is now expected to be rolled out in other sectors," writes the FTs Guy Chazan.
But but but: Do not look for such concessions to reach the U.S. any time soon, suggests Sharon Block, who runs the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. "It shows a growing divide between what is going on here and the rest of the industrialized world," she tells Axios.
Illustration: Caresse Haaser, Rebecca Zisser / Axios
Some researchers and business leaders are putting artificial intelligence — in its current and aspirational forms — on the same pedestal of human invention and innovation as fire, electricity and the light bulb, Axios Science editor Alison Snyder writes.
Yes, but: Other experts say it will be a long time before we know whether AI will ever merit such lofty imagery.
"It could be. If AI really leads to the birth of intelligences greater than humans', it will arguably be the most important event in the history of life on Earth since, well, humans. But that's a very big if, of course. In the meantime, AI's impact is far smaller than electricity or fire's (and in fact, you could say that AI is part of electricity's impact, since it wouldn't exist without it)."— Pedro Domingos, professor of computer science, University of Washington
If this were the Stone Age, where we’re at with AI is “we know what wheels are but not how to build them. ... But wheels are a whole lot easier to build than AI."— Gary Marcus, psychology professor, New York University
Consider this: Fire arguably made humanity. Taming it more than a million years ago brought our ancestors safety from predators and allowed us to leave the trees.
Crypto-currency specialists — from developers to technical writers — have the hottest new job in the U.S., according to Upwork, the freelance job listing site (see the right column in the chart below).
Quick take: Every quarter, Upwork measures newly demanded skills, and that makes its index exceedingly volatile. As you see, there is no overlap between the top five paid skills last quarter and those a year-and-a-half ago. But one thread running through the quarterly index is the fevers in our midst — Bitcoin, mobile apps, AI and visualization.
In addition to crypto-currency skills, the most-demanded new skills last quarter were for:
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
AI will supercharge surveillance (The Verge's James Vincent)
What Amazon does to poor cities (Atlantic's Alana Semuels)
How crypto-currencies help to evade sanctions (Axios)
If robots have their way, the populist revolt has only begun (NYT's Eduardo Porter)
Japan's manufacturing model is cracking (WSJ's Alastair Gale and Sean McLain)
The circuit board of Musk's Tesla Roadster in space. Screenshot: Musk's Instagram
Firing a super-heavy rocket into space is a serious thing. But entrepreneur Elon Musk spiced up yesterday's much-hailed launch of his Falcon Heavy with some personal humor. The most glaring was its cargo — his personal Tesla Roadster, which is headed toward Mars and from there onto an elliptical pathway around the Sun, writes Axios' Erin Ross.
Sourced: Why people are in a tizzy.